Principality at Europe’s top table

HE Mr Pierre Dartout will represent the Principality at the second Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the European Political Community (EPC) to be held in Chisinau, in Moldova, on June 1, 2023.

The Minister of State will be accompanied by two other top officials, HE Mr Frédéric Labarre, Ambassador and Head of the Mission of Monaco to the European Union, and Mrs Isabelle Costa, Monaco’s High Commissioner for European Affairs.

As proposed on May 9, 2022, during the closing ceremony of the Conference on the Future of Europe by the President of the French Republic, the EPC aims to strengthen cohesion, cooperation and dialogue between the countries of the European continent.

This new community met for the first time on October 6, 2022, in Prague, under the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

John Irish of Reuters adds that the meeting of European leaders will be a show of support for the former Soviet republic and neighbouring Ukraine as Kyiv prepares to launch a counter-offensive against occupying Russian forces.

The gathering of the EU’s 27 member states and 20 other European countries at a castle deep in Moldovan wine country will touch on a range of strategic issues and launch a new EU partnership mission in the country. But the focus will be on a symbolic show of unity on Ukraine’s doorstep.

“If you sit in Moscow and see 47 countries in your immediate or close neighbourhood meeting together, that’s an important message,” an EU official told reporters ahead of the summit, which takes place 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the capital Chisinau.

A country of 2.5 million lodged between Ukraine and NATO member Romania, Moldova has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country just as food and energy prices soared as a result of the conflict.

The government has accused Moscow of trying to destabilise the mainly Romanian-speaking country using its influence over the separatist movement in mainly Russian-speaking Transdniestria.

The summit, the second meeting of the European Political Community, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, will discuss issues from cyber-security to migration and energy security. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss tensions in the continent ranging from Azerbaijan and Armenia to recent clashes in northern Kosovo.

Moldova, like Ukraine, applied to join the European Union last year shortly after the Russian invasion, and Chisinau is planning to use the summit to showcase reforms and convince leaders to open accession talks as soon as possible.

“For us, the presence of 50 leaders in Moldova is a milestone… it’s the biggest foreign policy event Moldova has ever hosted,” said Olga Rosca, President Maia Sandu’s foreign policy adviser.

“It’s our way of anchoring our future in Europe and in the EU. It’s our way of accelerating the EU accession process.”

ORIGINAL SOURCES: Monaco Government and Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Members of the honour guard hold the Moldovan flag during a ceremony marking the State Flag Day in Chisinau, Moldova April 27, 2023. REUTERS/Vladislav Culiomza